Issue #99 – “TV Guide” – November 13th, 2006

-You know you watch too much television when you try to DVR real life.  That’s exactly what happened the other day as I stood in my kitchen and thought I saw a bug scurry across the floor out of the corner of my eye.  I turned around too late, but as I did, I felt my left thumb instinctively jerk forward two inches – the exact motion I make to hit the instant replay button every time that weird black smoke flows past the screen in “Lost.”  It was a surreal moment, but not altogether unexpected.  After all, I’ve seen exactly one movie in the theaters this year, but follow 15-20 television shows every week.  What’s not to love about the small screen?  I don’t have to leave the house, I don’t have to interact with other humans, and I get to freeze-frame Kaitlin Cooper’s ass on “The OC.”  So curl up on the couch, skip over those commercials, and allow me to be your TV guide.

-You know what I’m gonna ask Santa Claus for this year?  An episode of “House” without rectal bleeding.

-The “Viewer Discretion is Advised” warning before “Prison Break” is possibly the most dramatic three seconds on television.  If I was a young, impressionable kid and saw that warning, there’s no way I would NOT watch that show.  FOX is a bunch of goddamn geniuses.

-It pains me to say this, but I think “Grey’s Anatomy” might have jumped the McShark this season.  Don’t get me wrong, I still never miss an episode.  But I used to be near tears at the end.  Now I just find myself wondering when they’re gonna show Izzie in a bra again.

-Los Angeles has the hottest fucking newscasters ever.  I mean, I haven’t actually watched the news since Yahoo was invented, but every once in a while I’ll mistime hitting play while fast forwarding through the commercials and land on a promo.  It’s like soft-core porn.  The female anchors aren’t even mentioning the top stories, they’re like promoting an investigatory report on suntan lotion while having a pillow fight with the weather guy.

-I’m pretty sure the brother in “Jericho” is just Peyton Manning wearing a fake beard.  And do you ever get the feeling that the guy who plays Randy on “My Name is Earl” is pissed that he’s probably going to have to act like a fucking idiot for the next six years?

-When Dwight mentions “Lost” in “The Office,” that’s almost too much for me.  I mean, how awesome is television when your favorite sitcom references your favorite drama?  The only thing that would top that is if they had to stop football practice on “Friday Night Lights” because the cops are chasing the guys from “Prison Break” across the field – right past the cheerleader from “Heroes.”

-In the end, I really love everything about television.  I love the fact that when I gave up on “The Nine” a few weeks ago, I just assumed everyone else would stop watching it too and it’d shortly be canceled.  I love that Ex-Girlfriend once wondered aloud to me how they get those great in-car camera angles in “Laguna Beach,” and I responded, “They can film inside your fucking blood platelets now – I’m assuming a spoiled chick’s Range Rover is no biggie.”  I love that when I appeared as a commentator on VH1’s “I Love the 90s” and set my DVR to record it, they replayed the series so many times that it exceeded my memory capacity in two days.  I love that every single preview for “House” calls it his “most bizarre case yet!”  But most of all, I love sitting on my couch for one to four hours each night and being taken away to other worlds.  Well, as long as those other worlds don’t include rectal bleeding.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-Last week, as I passed through security in Miami International Airport, one of the screeners stopped me, picked up my clear, quart-size, plastic baggie filled with three-ounce gels and lotions, held it aloft to the horde of waiting travelers and said, “Now THIS is exactly how all of you should have packed.”  I kinda felt like a show-off, like in junior high when the teacher would use my work as an example to the class.  And you know what?  I liked it then, and I still like it now.

-This summer I bought a 50-inch HD plasma flat screen and mounted it on my wall.  It’s fucking amazing, and I named her Michelle after my first girlfriend in high school.  It may seem like an excessive purchase, but I’m paying her off in low monthly installments with no interest (the TV, not the girlfriend).  Though if the TV decides to dump me junior year and break my heart, well then I just might have to take her back to Best Buy.

-I’ve only had three girlfriends my whole life and for some reason they’re all making an appearance in this week’s column.  Weird.  Anyway, I got my college girlfriend’s wedding invitation in the mail the other day.  I knew she was getting married of course, but seeing the actual invitation kind of freaked me out.  I mean, that could’ve been me.  And there’s no way I would have picked such nice calligraphy.

-I want to give a special birthday shout-out to my Grandma Zelda, who turned 95 over the weekend.  She was born 11/11/11 – how gourmet is that?  Grandma is a pretty cool chick, though she makes a snide remark every time she sees me unshaven.  I could walk in the door holding an Emmy Award and she’d quip, “What, are you growing a beard or something?”  Grandma, I love you very much.  But your turning 95 has made me realize one very important thing: when I’m your age, I’ll still be paying off my fucking TV.

-I’m psyched to once again be spending the night before Thanksgiving rampaging through New York City with my boys, as we’ve done every year since we were college freshmen.  My history is a little fuzzy, but I believe that Thanksgiving Eve is actually a tradition dating back to when the island of Manhattan was first settled, when dudes would come from neighboring colonies to get really fucked up and try to nail any fair maiden that moved.

-The TV is broken above the treadmill in my gym, so the other day I was forced to watch “The Martha Stewart Show.”  But the episode was titled “Thirty things you should know how to do,” and number 30 was “How to iron a shirt” – which I don’t know how to do, so I figured the show might be interesting after all.  Not so much.  Put it this way, number 17 was “How to roast a turkey.”  What the fuck?  That’s 17?  What’s 3?  “How to install a fuel injection system”?  Hell, what I really needed was “How to change the channel.”

-And, finally, living in Los Angeles means that talk of television is pervasive.  People are just obsessed with TV and the TV business to an unhealthy degree.  Recently, I was sitting in a waiting room before an audition and the two other people there were discussing their televisions in excruciating detail.  The one girl was bragging about how big hers was, since it weighed 83.5 pounds.  And the guy was saying how he doesn’t trust the maid around his when he’s not home.  Feeling a little left out, I finally chimed in like, “Mine actually weighs 89 pounds.  I just got it and mounted that puppy right on the wall!”  They both looked at me in absolute horror.  And that’s when I realized they weren’t talking about their TVs.  They were talking about their dogs.  Fuck me!